Last Friday, the Dallas Cowboys overcame what was inarguably the biggest hurdle of their offseason when they locked down DeMarcus Lawrence to a long-term contract extension.
It’s much easier to breathe now with this matter settled as we’re talking about a contractual situation that has gone on for over a year now. It’s a great point of relief for a team that still has multiple contracts that they’ll have to negotiate.
Part of the reason that things were so dicey with this situation is that Lawrence has pending shoulder surgery (which he’s reportedly set to undergo on Wednesday). The longer it took for a deal to get done, the longer it would take for him to have the surgery, which meant the longer it would take for him tor recover from said surgery. That didn’t sound great for a team looking to contend for a Super Bowl.
Lawrence’s surgery did in fact play a big part in the negotiations, according to the MMQB’s Albert Breer. He reported on some interesting details regarding the eleventh hour of it all.
Tank always wanted to be a Cowboy
There were creative Cowboys fans who reached a point through this process that surrendered themselves to the foregone conclusion that Lawrence would never sign a deal that the Cowboys were offering and that it ultimately made more sense to trade him. There was definitely some logic to this.
Breer notes that Lawrence’s agent, David Canter, texted Lawrence with instructions to ask for a trade during negotiations and that they never came. It was then that things came together for a lot of parties involved.
When those words never came out of Lawrence’s mouth, the situation crystallized to Canter. The 27-year-old pass-rusher has put down roots near the team facility in Frisco, Texas. He’s close with coordinator Rod Marinelli. He’s a leader in a locker room with a burgeoning young defense. In short, Lawrence didn’t really want to go anywhere, and his refusal to say those four words was proof.
“I knew then that fighting over a half-million dollars would do a disservice to my client,” Canter says. “I know that’s who my responsibility is to.”
There were definitely times over the last few months where things did look dark as far as this situation. Discussions about the relationship between Canter and the Cowboys became big-time topics, Lawrence wore a shirt depicting that he “needed money” a few weeks ago, the low point wasn’t surface-level but it was low enough to be worried.
Apparently during this time Canter did indeed float the idea of a trade. According to Breer, Canter had at least two AFC teams interested in the star pass rusher.
When things looked bleakest, Canter was working with two AFC teams on potentially trading for Lawrence. He says he believes one of the two was ready to pull the trigger. One important piece of movement that prevented it from ever coming to that: The Cowboys’ willingness to go to a five-year structure.
We don’t know who the teams are, but many will guess that one of them was the Indianapolis Colts who boast Matt Eberflus as their defensive coordinator. There’s a relationship there, not to mention a need, that could have made sense for Indy.
Thankfully that was never the case as Lawrence is here for the long haul. While many wondered if being on the franchise tag for the second straight year would cause Tank to hold out, think again. That was never going to happen.
If Lawrence didn’t get a deal by the July 15 deadline, his plan was to report the Saturday before Week 1. He wasn’t sitting out the season. “We were never going to turn down $20.5 million for one,” Canter said. “This was not going to be the Le’Veon Bell situation.”
There would have been some panic if Lawrence hadn’t shown up until the Saturday before Week 1. Imagine being a day away from the season beginning and him rolling up all casually? Goodness.
It’s good to have this matter taken care of, and now focus shifts to other contracts for the Cowboys and surgery for DeMarcus Lawrence. According to Stephen Jones, recovery time can be four to six months which does seem to potentially be problematic as that puts us somewhere in the August to October timeframe. Other reports have recovery as three to four months. Let’s hope for the latter.